Ok, up until now I’ve simply been a gaijin (foreigner) in Japan. However, thanks to our friends, Jason and Brett, we were able to experience a quintessential Japanese experience. There are actually quite a few such opportunities, really. There are the 9-story karaoke booths. There are Harajuku girls and rockabilly boys. There are earthquakes. This afternoon, we tried the maid cafe.
You see, maid cafes first appeared a little over a decade ago in the Akihabara area of Tokyo. This is the electronics district where you can buy everything from fans to TV’s to sex toys. If you can plug it into a socket, they sell it. But in the midst of this somewhat testosterone-filled district, there are now numerous maid cafes where the staff is all female, and they’re all dressed like slutty French maids. The decorations are ridiculously girly and the service even more so.
For example, the waitresses all use baby talk and high pitched (dare I say, annoying) voices. When our waitress arrived at our table she made us count down from 3 to 1 before she “lit” a battery powered candle. Strangely, it wasn’t left at the table…she took the candle away. Most of the food items come in the shape of cutesy animals (I had a pork katsu with rice and curry that looked like a teddy bear).
You’d think that was strange enough, but no, there’s more. Honestly, this was the second most peculiar meal I’ve ever had. The first was at a restaurant in Buenos Aires that had a menu written erotically about every food item, had erotic are on every wall…and came complete with a hardcore porn puppet show. I’m serious. We’re talking full on penetration.
But back to the maid cafe (which was called Maidreamin’, by the way). Every time the waitress brought a food or beverage to the table she made us perform a cutesy Engrish song, along with hand gestures. From what I can remember, we had to create a heart with our hands, then bring the heart to our right check, then left check, then to the food, all the while singing “Delicious, Delicious, More, More…Hooray.” I may have the last word wrong…I couldn’t quite understand everything that was going on around me. But since every food item came individually, we had to sing for our lunch multiple times, alongside our cheery Lolita-esque waitress. Obviously, the quality of the food has nothing to do with the ingredients or preparation. It has EVERYTHING to do with whether you cast a magic happy spell on it.
Oh, and I forgot to mention how you beckon your waitress when you need her. Everybody at the table has to put their hands to their eyes as if crying and make meowing noises (which in Japanease is neow-neow…not meow). Yes…our table of middle-aged men had to pretend to be crying felines to get service.
Apparently, this whole concept was designed to tickle the fancies of men with little-girl fetishes (which is very big here). This whole country is obsessed with the whole school girl shtick.
Half way through our meal, the lights went down and a handful of waitress started singing and dancing to a J-pop (Japanese pop) song. One particular dancer was quite, um, erotically charged with her thrusting and would have been just as employable in one of Tokyo’s finer adult entertainment establishments, if you know what I mean.
Of course, all of this…what would you call it?…entertainment?…comes at a price. For the privilege of neow-neowing like a cat and singing for your food, you had to pay 1,000 yen ($12) per person just to sit down, plus the cost of food and drink.
But honestly, it’s an experience I’d do again. Plus, I got my maidreamin’ “passport” card and I’m eligible for a free drink next time! I don’t think Randy was as enamored with the experience. But he did manage to capture a video (which technically isn’t allowed, which explains the poor quality). Maybe if we had sung to the iPhone first it would have guaranteed a quality video?
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